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Ask the Experts

Question:

I have been on wellbutrin and now my doctor is switching me to celexa. How does it differ?

Answered by: Patrick McGrath

Celexa (citalopram) is in a different class of antidepressants, the serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While its overall effectiveness is similar to that of Wellbutrin, it might be more or less effective for any individual person. It has been shown to be somewhat more effective than Wellbutrin for both the anxiety disorders and the anxiety symptoms which often accompany depression. Its side effect profile is also different; it is much more likely to cause sexual dysfunction, and probably more likely to cause weight gain in the long term, than is Wellbutrin. A recent FDA advisory has indicated that there are new data on possible rare but serious cardiac side effects of Celexa. It is now advised that anyone taking Celexa should be screened for cardiac problems, especially a history of abnormal heart rhythms, and for the use of other medications which might have a potential additive effect on the heart. Because of this, the maximum recommended dosage has been lowered from 60 to 40 mg. It is import that you review this recent safety information about Celexa with your doctor.